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Contact:  More info:
Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams. Mooka/Kalara Traditional Owner
+61 (0) 447 841 560

Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth Australia
+61 (0) 421 226 200

Wiradjuri Elder exposes mine pit collapse at Lake Cowal


Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville 'Chappy' Williams, has exposed a massive collapse at Barrick’s Cowal Gold Project in Lake Cowal, 45 km north-west of West Wyalong, central western NSW.

After a flight with Friends of the Earth Australia yesterday Williams stated, “ It is hard to bear the pain of the destruction of our sacred site. Barrick has ignored our demands to protect cultural objects and the ecological significance of the lake.”

Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake lying in the Lachlan River plain within the Murray-Darling Basin.

“We are deeply concerned about the mine’s impact on local Aboriginal and farming communities particularly the mines massive consumption of water”, says Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth Australia. “The pit wall collapse also creates a major concern for workers at the mine site.”

Wiradjuri and their supporters will be converging at Lake Cowal to voice their opposition to the mine over the Easter weekend.

Background info on Barrick's mine at Lake Cowal:

  • Barrick’s bore water licences allow it to take up to 17 million litres of water per day drought stricken central western NSW
  • In October 2006 a 30-metre groundwater level drop had up to 80 landholders anxiously watching their livestock and domestic supplies.
  • Since 2001, Wiradjuri Tradtional Owners, represented by Neville 'Chappy' Williams, have been in legal battle in the Federal and NSW Land and Environment Courts against Barrick's Cowal Gold Project.
  • Wiradjuri cultural items and places have been damaged or destroyed including tens of thousands of stone arterfacts, ancient ceremonial areas, marked trees, and traditional camp and toll-making sites.
  • Barrick has reportedly collected more than 10,000 artifacts from the mine area, but has refused to release details.
  • Leaching gold from the ore requires 6,000 metric tons of cyanide per year and the use of other hazardous materials.
  • Cyanide is transported 1600 kilometres from Orica in Gladstone, Queensland to Lake Cowal. Trains and trucks carry the cyanide to Lake Cowal over 20 rivers, through ten national parks and past 200 towns.

More info:
Save Lake Cowal campaign

Global Solidarity Campaign against Barrick Gold


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